The man who invented pop-up ads is sorry. Apology not accepted

Today in overdue apologies: Ethan Zuckerman, the man who invented the pop up ad, is sorry.

In an essay for The Atlantic titled 'The Internet's Original Sin', Mr Zuckerman says he did not realise the true implications of what he had done when, while working for in the mid-1990s, he first wrote the code for pop-up ads.

At the time, he was looking for a way to associate an advert with a user without putting it "directly on the page".

Specifically, we came up with it when a major car company freaked out that they’d bought a banner ad on a page that celebrated anal sex. I wrote the code to launch the window and run an ad in it. I’m sorry. Our intentions were good.

But now Mr Zuckerman is pushing for a different kind of internet, saying "advertising is the original sin of the web."

But 20 years in to the ad-supported web, we can see that our current model is bad, broken, and corrosive. It’s time to start paying for privacy, to support services we love, and to abandon those that are free, but sell us—the users and our attention—as the product.

Read his full essay here.

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